Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Corner View - Improvising



You will find this picture inside almost every home, shop and temple in Bhutan. It illustrates the story of Thuenpa puen shi, or the Four Cooperative Friends. The story tells how four very different creatures, an elephant, a monkey, a rabbit and a peacock, combined to find food. The peacock found the seed, the rabbit watered it, the monkey fertilised it, and the elephant guarded it. The problem was that the tree grew too high for any one of them to pick the fruit. So, they stood on each other's backs in order to reach it (obviously, the elephant was not on top). The Bhutanese are officially the happiest people in the world. Maybe this story helps to explain why.

Whilst you will find the Four Cooperative Friends inside, on the outside walls of their shops and houses the Bhutanese have painted a very different picture: it is of a giant penis with a ribbon tied round it. Whether this also has something to do with them being so happy, I really don't know.

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16 comments:

  1. Bhutan happiness is contagious,
    I am laughing to read your post!
    Passing along happiness+equals good deed+=well done!

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  2. that story actually reminds me of the four musicians from Bremen, did you hear of it? i find it funny how stories travel around the world, and change from traditon to civilisation to different uses..
    to answer your question on improvisation, that was for 'dutch', it was just a means of introducing ourelves to one another.
    improvise on other subjects... i don't know... is that what is called life? ha ha ha....

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  3. wow, great to have such a lovely painting in your house!! (well in Buthan houses)

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  4. A beautiful improvising! I love the story with the artwork. xo

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  5. Haha, had to laugh at the last sentences of your posting! Maybe this is why these people are so happy: strong company and humor!
    I was also reminded of the "Bremer Stadtmusikanten", by the way!

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  6. Ooh, I'd love to see a pic of those penises!

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  7. Now if we could all work together like that, appreciating our differences and making them into strengths!

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  8. That gave me a smile Ian! I am amazed at some of the cultural differences from place to place. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary one with us :^)

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  9. Smart animals! Smart people!!

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  10. I'd say yes, the decorated penises must bring a little bit of happiness in the day to day. I was just reading that book about happiness that has a section on Bhutan... My kindle battery died in the middle, so now I cannot remember it's name. Are you happy there? Or should I say are you happiest there?

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  11. hmmmmm makes ya think, doesn't it?

    the paintings are lovely. we hope you will be answering cate's question.

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  12. The answer to Cate's question is that I was, as it is the happiest country in the world. But, you must forget your preconceived notions of what a society should be like. All traffic lights were removed because it was found that they made people unhappy. If this caused an accident - an obvious cause of unhappiness - they would consider putting them back again. The King of Bhutan, was married to four sisters. Why? Because the fifth one didn't want to marry him.

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  13. I hope this story will come a reality everywhere in the world ;)

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  14. I loved seeing these pictures and reading the story... It is so intereseting how cultures take different approaches to life


    ...loved the story about street lights :-)

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